09/17/2020

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Friday Fundings: Confluent, Noah, and ForgeRock



Data-Streamer Confluent Gets $4.5 Billion Valuation After Series E


Many companies are just now moving their operations online and embracing digital commerce, but the cloud-based data streaming company, Confluent has been encouraging that since its 2014 launch. Now, with a free tier that’s been running since September, Confluent is seeing some pay off. In a Series E round, the company raised $250 million , bringing the total valuation to $4.5 billion.

Confluent runs through the open-source data platform Apache Kafka, which originally came out of LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft (MSFT). The idea behind Confluent’s new free tier is that it should be possible for even the smallest companies to build an application without expending a lot of time and resources. Once customers feel comfortable with Kafka as a platform, they might buy in to expand. Some companies could get all the way up to the size of Lyft (LYFT), which uses Confluent for its ridesharing app.

As the economy continues to struggle, Confluent could be a company that pushes through. Right now, it has 1,000 employees, and executives say it plans to continue growing. They expect to announce “a major new set of capabilities” every month starting in May and through the end of the year.

Noah raises $150 Million for Debt-Free Home Equity Partnerships


Noah, the fintech startup formerly known as Patch Homes, just raised $150 million in what founder Sahil Gupta is calling “platform capital.” In September, the company raised its first $5 million in a Series A round. Since then, Noah has multiplied its home equity investments 4.5 times, and expanded into 20 new metro areas.

What Noah does feels increasingly relevant in these financially precarious times. Essentially, homeowners looking to refinance answer a few questions on Noah’s platform to prequalify for equity. Rather than asking clients to take on a loan for repayment like traditional financial institutions might, Noah treats homeowners like partner investors. When the home increases in value, Noah gets part of that cut. The inverse is true if a home loses value.

In the second quarter, Noah expects to expand to metro areas in the East Coast and to continue hiring. As financial volatility remains during the coronavirus pandemic, more homeowners may consider refinancing. A debt-free option could be an interesting alternative.

Identity Cloud Grows as ForgeRock Raises $93.5 Million


ForgeRock is another company that preceded the coronavirus pandemic but is finding its footing as remote work grows. The digital identity startup has raised $93.5 million in a Series E round. ForgeRock has been around for 10 years and has now raised more than $230 million in that time.

ForgeRock has its roots in Norway, and 40% of its revenue still comes from Europe. The “Identity Cloud” platform at the base of ForgeRock helps companies with remote-work tasks like accessing requests and certifications. It can also help predict the access employees should have to company information.

Companies like BMW (BMW), Toyota (TM), Vodafone (VOD), and the BBC are already on the platform. ForgeRock will use the funding to invest in marketing, AI, and research.


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